Court is in Session

The three major SCOTUS decisions last week trigger three thoughts of mine, some admittedly tenuously related to the matters at hand.

DOMA
The court ruling that advanced the ball a little on gay rights made me think about how we will know we’ve reached the promised land: when we ALL go back in the closet, gay and straight.

In polite society we don’t discuss our sexual practices. When folks get on TV and declare themselves gay that is shorthand for “I engage in oral sex and/or sodomy and/or mutual masturbation with someone of my own gender.” When a straight person declares himself straight on TV he is using the same shorthand with respect to the opposite sex. And you know what folks? It just ain’t polite. We need to get to a point in this country where folks no longer feel the need to make this declaration.

And let’s get one thing clear since we’ve muddled up this argument with stupid rhetoric. The opposition to gay marriage in this country hasn’t a damn thing to do with “who we love”. It has to do with some people’s disgust with the sex act being shared between same gender couples. It has nothing to do with marriage as an environment for procreation. It has to do with marriage as an environment for sexual intercourse. No one bats an eye at heterosexual childless couples. We don’t care that they don’t procreate–we’re just glad they fuck “as God intended”.

Once we get over homosexuality as perversion we will be fine with gay marriage and then we can all stop talking about it and put our sex back where it belongs for all of us: back in the privacy of our bedroom.

Voting Rights Act
OK this one stung for several reasons. First it highlights Antonin Scalia’s hypocrisy as he bemoans judicial activism in the CA prop 8 decision (that was released with the DOMA decision) but has no problem tossing out the will of Congress on voting rights.

Putting that aside, we need to respond to this decision by playing the game on the State’s terms and stop whining. They want you to have a photo ID? Then if you REALLY want to vote, get the damn ID. Do what you have to do and beat them at their own game. Folks stood in line for hours in 2012 to vote. They weren’t taking no for an answer. That is the determination we must bring to every election. When they can’t beat down our will they will cross the line of illegality and then the Voting Rights Act will still be there for us to prosecute them.

U of Texas
The Court essentially kicked this can down the road by sending it back to the lower court for further review. But it does give me a chance to state my own preference: EO not AA.

I believe that institutions intent on diversity need to maximize outreach. They should actively recruit minority applications. However, the application evaluation process should be color blind. Paul Ryan was right when he said last year that we don’t guarantee equal outcomes. We shouldn’t. But he was dead wrong in implying we have equal opportunity. We don’t. To the extent that college admission programs can give the talented underclass a fair hearing, so much the better. However it goes too far if race trumps qualifications.

An Aside in Defense of Rick Perry
The liberal media and progressives in general had a conniption when TX Governor Rick Perry suggested that state Senator Wendy Davis had not learned from her own life the value of every human life. Davis famously engaged in an 11 hour filibuster to block anti-abortion measures in Texas. Davis, it turns out, not only was born out of wedlock but had her first born unmarried at age 19. Perry cited Davis’ successful life as evidence of the potential that exists in every zygote and fetus.

People say Rick shouldn’t have made it personal but folks what else is the abortion debate if not personal? The decision whether or not to allow a pregnancy to go to term is probably the most personal decision a woman will make. It is for that reason that Rick’s comment was completely appropriate in that it got the matter down to brass tacks. It is also the reason why government needs to play a minimal role in this matter.

Rick said out loud what any self respecting pro-life person was thinking. Rick’s only mistake was in assuming that Davis’ mother’s very personal decision is right for every woman.

Respectfully,
Rutherford

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Why I Am Voting for Barack Hussein Obama

Arrogant conservatives, despite their utter ignorance about anything HUMAN, claim a profound wisdom when it comes to their ability to divine the motives of liberals who will grant Barack Obama a second term as President of the United States. They say Obama is our Messiah. They say that in the eyes of liberals, Obama can do no wrong. They say that whenever we liberals are confronted with one of Obama’s weaknesses, we cry “racism!” We are unthinking “sheeple”.

You don’t have to believe that Obama is a secret Muslim to think he’s not perfect.

You don’t have to believe he was born in Kenya and has a forged birth certificate to think he’s not perfect.

You don’t have to believe he is somewhere between a socialist, communist and anarchist to think he’s not perfect.

While the conservative fringe fouls the air with the stench of their crazed conspiracy theories, many liberals, myself included, can readily concede that Obama has thus far not been one of our “great Presidents”. Of course it takes decades of history and hindsight to judge the historical significance of a President, but we’ll concede that for the time being Obama ain’t no Washington, Jefferson or Roosevelt (the GOP one or the Democratic one). In fact, some liberals are very disappointed with the man.

Take comedian Lee Camp whose recent video contends that there isn’t too much daylight between Obama and his opponent Mitt Romney.  Camp claims to know who will win this election and the winner’s name doesn’t even matter:

It’s gonna be the guy who seems to support endless war, countless drone attacks and would sooner sit down to watch every Pauly Shore movie back to back than consider decreasing our 900 military bases around the world by a single one.

It’ll be the guy who deports immigrants hand over fist and would sooner adopt Honey Boo Boo than stand up for unions over the corporatists.

It’ll be the guy who surrounds himself with advisers from Goldman Sachs, GE and Monsanto. Not only will he win the election but I bet you he’ll get every single electoral vote.

I don’t know whom Lee is voting for but despite his disappointment with Obama,  I doubt it will be Mitt Romney.

Then we have (another) comedian who is also an actor and writer, David Cross who had some harsh words for the current POTUS:

There are dozens, if not hundreds of legitimate reasons why you should not vote for Obama. You were lied to, seduced by yet another smooth talking politician who promised you hope and change. …

And yes, after three years of Obama, we still live in a country with an ever-peeling veneer of “democracy” that is run by and for the moneyed power brokers and their vested interests. A country where cancer patients smoking medicinal marijuana in the privacy of their home participate in a criminal offense, but knowingly manipulating the markets and stealing from pension funds goes, not only unpunished, but lucratively rewarded.

And true, we still live in the most violent first world country on earth, with increasingly lax restrictions on the freedom to buy assault weapons online. And we still spend more of our precious decreasing tax dollars on “defense” than the next ten countries combined. …

And unquestionably, the banks, insurance companies, brokerage houses and really, all financial institutions have gotten away virtually untouched with the biggest theft of the people’s money since Rome was sacked by the Visigoths. — David Cross from 90 Days, 90 Reasons.

But then Cross asks the reader to consider the alternative. This brings me to why I am voting for Barack Obama in November.

First let’s rewind to the Republican primary season where each candidate tried to outdo the other on just how cut-throat they could be with the American people. GOP audiences cheered at the notion of letting a man without insurance die in the street, and candidate Ron Paul said nothing to condemn the notion. A soldier asking candidates about marriage equality was booed by an audience of homophobic cowards, not fit to wipe his ass much less shine his shoes. And Rick Santorum stood by and said nothing in defense of the man. Santorum, a so-called patriot, except when it comes to what you want to do in the privacy of your bedroom. Let’s not forget Herman Cain who reminded the jobless in this disastrous economy that it was their fault that they didn’t have a job.

Through it all, Mitt Romney seemed comparatively innocuous. His most memorable moments amounted to challenging Rick Perry to a ten thousand dollar bet and deflecting accusations of hiring undocumented workers by saying that he told his landscaper “I can’t have illegals. I’m running for President for Pete’s sake.” Mitt was the most presidential in a cast of mean-spirited clowns and he won the nomination.

Ah yes, the nomination … the Republican National Convention helped further flesh out the Republican party that we were introduced to in the primary debates.  The theme was the makers vs the takers. If “you didn’t build that”, the Obama phrase perversely mangled by opponents, was offensive, the GOP upped the ante by suggesting that if you didn’t pull yourself up by your bootstraps you were a loser. Virtually every speaker told tales of ancestors who made it with no help from the government, just by dint of hard work. Yet, in twisted convoluted logic, they lauded America as the place “legal” immigrants came to for opportunity. Somehow, the greatest governmental experiment ever launched by mankind had nothing to do with their ancestor’s success. It made no sense, but then Republican’s government-hating patriotism makes no sense either.

Shortly before the convention, Mitt announced his running mate, Paul Ryan, a card carrying enemy of the “nanny state”. Ryan was a no-win choice no matter how you looked at it. Either he was the austerity minded, program cutting makers-vs-takers candidate or he was the man who voted for every unfunded Bush initiative of the prior administration. Another example of the contradiction that is the current Republican party.

Then within the past few weeks a tape was released that revealed what Mitt Romney (and by extension, the entire GOP) felt was an effective pander to his “base”. Mind you, I didn’t say the tape revealed what Mitt actually feels. We don’t know what Mitt actually feels about anything. Pick any topic  and a YouTube of two Mitt’s side by side saying opposite things can be produced. But this pander, this low that Romney was willing to stoop to for votes and contributions, spoke volumes about the attitude of the folks who will be empowered by a Romney win in November. It is the attitude that many many Americans see themselves as “victims” and do not want to take “personal responsibility” for themselves.

Forget about Mitt for one moment and think about the arrogant prick who asked the question, how is Mitt going to convince people “you’ve got to take care of yourself”. He asks this while a no doubt minimum wage waiter serves him his champagne and caviar at the home of a man who hosts sex-parties for his out of touch spoiled friends who wouldn’t know a tough break if they had it shoved up their pampered butt.

These are the folks Romney wants to impress. These are the folks who think that because you got laid off and haven’t been able to find work in 18 months that you’re a loser mooching off the nation. This is the movement foretold by Rick Santelli back in 2009:

How about this, Mr. President and new administration. Why don’t you put up a website to have people vote on the internet as a referendum to see if we really want to subsidize the losers mortgages? Or would they like to at least buy cars, buy a house that is in foreclosure … give it to people who might have a chance to actually prosper down the road and reward people that can carry the water instead of drink the water?

This is America!

How many people want to pay for your neighbor’s mortgages that has an extra bathroom and can’t pay their bills?
Raise their hand!

I stand with David Cross and Lee Camp and many other liberals who are disappointed in Barack Obama. But I’m voting for him again this November because I detest most of what the Republican party has come to stand for:

Homophobia.
A dangerously “nostalgic” view of women.
A lack of empathy that borders on resentment and hatred of the poor and newly poor.
A love affair with the wealthy complete with delusions that we all could be wealthy if we just worked hard enough.

I don’t think that way and I won’t cast a vote that puts me in common cause with people who do. That is reason enough for me to vote for Barack Hussein Obama.

Respectfully,
Rutherford

Art by Vectorportal [CC-BY-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

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Did Obama Attend Kindergarten?

No, this is not an article about madrasas. No, I am not requesting that Obama release his academic records. Remember the 1988 book All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten? Well, I never read it but I do know the premise. The lessons learned early in life are the most important ones, lessons about honesty, fairness, and kindness. One thing that I learned at a very young age was not to call names. How does this lesson apply to President Barack Obama? Let’s take a trip in the wayback machine and see.

April, 2008: Obama as a candidate for President said,

You go into some of these small towns in Pennsylvania, and like a lot of small towns in the Midwest, the jobs have been gone now for 25 years and nothing’s replaced them and they fell through the Clinton Administration, and the Bush Administration, and each successive administration has said that somehow these communities are gonna regenerate and they have not. And it’s not surprising then they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.

July, 2009: President Obama said,

I don’t know – not having been there and not seeing all the facts – what role race played in that, but I think it’s fair to say, number one, any of us would be pretty angry; number two that the Cambridge police acted stupidly in arresting somebody when there was already proof that they were in their own home.

Both of these statements by Obama triggered outrage from his critics. How dare he call Pennsylvanians “bitter”? The nerve of him to call the Cambridge police stupid! At the time, I defended him because I felt in both cases he spoke truth. Yet now comes another incident that has me rethinking my position.

November, 2011: President remarks at APEC Forum,

I think it’s important to remember that the United States is still the largest recipient of foreign investment in the world. And there are a lot of things that make foreign investors see the U.S. as a great opportunity — our stability, our openness, our innovative free market culture. But we’ve been a little bit lazy, I think, over the last couple of decades. We’ve kind of taken for granted — well, people will want to come here and we aren’t out there hungry, selling America and trying to attract new business into America.

GOP Presidential wanna-be Rick Perry took this quote and ran with it claiming that Obama was calling Americans lazy. He drummed up a campaign ad totally distorting Obama’s message.

Democrats are right to criticize Perry for taking Obama’s message out of context. Clearly, Obama was not talking about Americans in general. He was talking about American business and their efforts to pursue foreign investment. But what Obama’s defenders are missing is that the entire brouhaha could have been avoided if Obama did not engage in name calling.

Whether it’s “bitter” in 2008 or “acted stupidly” in 2009 or “lazy” in 2011, Barack has a hard time staying away from negative, damning adjectives. When he does this he comes off judgmental and condescending. He is basically begging his opponents to kick him in the ass either in context or out of context.

A man of Obama’s considerable rhetorical skills should know that it is always better to phrase a criticism or judgment in the form of a positive suggestion for improvement rather than a negative description of the current behavior. Every corporate manager has been taught this when training to give performance reviews.

My advice to the President: stop name-calling and start building alliances. You’ll need every alliance you can find in 2012.

Respectfully,
Rutherford

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